Kabbage wants to be the funding source of choice when a small business owner finds herself in the right place at the right time and scores an amazing deal.
The Atlanta-based online lender has published mobile apps for the iPhone and iPad that let small businesses apply for cash advances—or working capital, as the company likes to call it—when opportunity strikes. Kabbage's COO and co-founder Kathryn Petralia told Small Business Computing that her company's latest mobile offering "uses all of our services easily over the app."
The Kabbage app, available for Android and iOS devices, means that funding is just a couple of taps away—anywhere, anytime. As a bonus, you don't have to lug around a laptop or contend with a mobile browser.
Kabbage designed the app for smartphones, the one device that today's workers carry with them all day, said Petralia. In business, particularly, "everybody is moving to mobile."
In one minute, Kabbage members can log into their accounts and request funds for a selected amount. The money is typically sent to a bank or to a PayPal account in mere moments. Members can also view their balances and make transfers to Kabbage.
The company uses a variety of sources, including customer ratings, UPS shipping histories, eBay storefronts and even social media to qualify applicants. "The entire process is 100 percent automated, 100 percent online," said Victoria Treyger, chief marketing officer for Kabbage, in September when she revealed that Kabbage had opened up the platform to physical stores ahead of the crucial holiday season. (Initially Kabbage catered only to online stores.)
To date, the company has advanced more than $200 million to more than 100,000 small business owners. And as of mid-November, customers in 41 states have used the app to score funding, according to the company.
For one member, Nicholas Herweck of A-1 Resale, the app proved invaluable during a recent visit to a supplier. After being offered additional items at an irresistible price, he realized he needed more money.
"I didn't have the extra funds to purchase the entire amount, but then I remembered the new app. I quickly took the Kabbage advance and was able to purchase the additional inventory in 3 minutes from start to finish without worrying," said Herweck in a written statement.
"Enabling access to funds from mobile devices is the next logical step to making it even easier for small businesses to get instant access to capital," said Rob Frohwein, CEO and co-founder of Kabbage in a statement. Echoing Herweck's experience, he added that the company's customers can now "scoop up the best inventory deals on the spot and use the power of their Kabbage working capital to build and grow their businesses."
As for the future, Petralia said Kabbage is working on "moving the entire application process" to the app. The company also plans to keep several steps ahead of fraudsters by investing in advanced security and privacy protections.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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